Waldo's October 31st, 2017 GEM cruise from NY

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#21
NH
172 Posts
Joined Jul 2010
Day Three: Friday 11/03/17 (Sea Day #3)

We woke up to another sunny day. We decided to use the pool before breakfast. We loved the pools on this ship. There was a family pool and an adults only pool. Both were decent sizes for the size of the ship. There were 3 hot tubs, one which was designated for adults only. The pools and hot tubs were never crowded the whole cruise. We swam for an hour and then ate a little breakfast. After breakfast we went to the Atrium to purchase two excursion tickets to the “Catamaran Snorkel Trip” in St. Kitts. It was now time to learn howto make balloon animals and then over to Magnums’ for another round of Goofy Golf. I did lousy but Nancy took 2nd place in the women’s bracket. We then squeezed 2 miles in on the treadmill before going to dinner. Our plan was to make as many of the 5pm dinner seating as we could so we could go to the 7pm shows. Tonight was a show performed by a Vegas entertainer named Katy. Katy was a singer (who performed in Las Vegas) and would sing songs as a tribute to the Divas. She was very good and it was a great show. After the show we went to the Atrium to play in a Trivia Game called “Last Man Standing”. Trivia can make you hungry so we got a snack and then were in our cabin by 10pm. We wanted to get some sleep before our 7am wake up call.

(12 Waldo shout outs/ 38 total)
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#22
NH
172 Posts
Joined Jul 2010
Day Four: Saturday 11/04/17 (St. Kitts)

Our alarm and wake up call got us up at 7am. We got dressed and went up to the Garden Café for a small breakfast. We were supposed to meet at 8:50am for our“Catamaran and Snorkel” excursion. Since we got to the meeting spot 30 minutes early we checked out a few shops. St Kitts has a very nice shopping area at the port. Our plan was to do the excursion (cost was$99 minus 10% Silver Member discount) and then go back to the cabin to shower and change our clothes. We were going to have lunch and then spend a few hours shopping and sending emails. It didn’t turn out that way. The Catamaran ride was fun and informative. The snorkeling was nice but didn’t have many fish. The highlight was when we were able to see a large turtle and follow it for about 5 minutes. As soon as the snorkeling was over the boat crew opened up the bar. We drank quite a bit and don’t exactly remember going back to our cabin. When we woke up it was 4:30pm and we were heading out to sea, so much for walking around town. We hadn’t eaten all day so we went up to the Garden Café at 7pm. We had some pasta,scallops, shrimp and pork for dinner. All the food was very good. We went back to the cabin at 8pm and fell asleep around 10pm. Tonight’s show was the “Second City Improv” which we have never liked. We have seen this show 3 times before and didn’t want to see it again. This was the only show we would miss.

(7 Waldo shut outs/ 45 total)
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#23
NH
172 Posts
Joined Jul 2010
Day Five: Sunday 11/05/17 (St. Lucia)
We woke up at 8am. Our plan was to walk to Vigie Beach following directions that we got from someone on Cruise Critic. We were going to swim for a few hours and then walk back to the ship. Between the rain and the constant hounding by taxi drivers, tour guides and people selling drugs and the fact we weren’t entirely sure we were going the right way we decided to head back to the ship. Because it was Sunday the only shops we found open were at the pier. We looked through the shops at the pier and then went back to the ship. We didn’t see much of the island but it seemed very grungy from the little bit we saw. Back on the ship we took advantage of the empty pool and hot tubs. While Nancy went to the cabin I did 2.5 miles on the treadmill. Nancy met me at the Garden Café for lunch. We did go back to the pier to use the free WiFi. Now it was time to go back to Magnums for another round of Goofy Golf. After golf we went to O’Sheehan’s for wings and then out on the ship deck to watch the sail away. We watched some Sunday football until it was time for the 7pm show called “Blazing Boots”. This was another very good show. After the show we went to dinner at the “Orchid Gardens”. The food was good, not great. As we were eating we noticed an island and the fact that the ship was not moving. I guess Barbados was so close (our next island) that the GEM was just drifting of the coast of St. Lucia to save fuel. We watched some more NFL football on the large screen in the Atrium until it was time for the deck party with the live band “Sonata”. Great music, lots more food then off to bed.
(3 Waldo shout outs/ 48 total)
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#24
Central Illinois
132,370 Posts
Joined Apr 2008
Enjoying the review and photos, thanks!
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Bob

Past Cruises

Celebrity: Mercury
RCCL: Adventure, Allure, Brilliance, Enchantment, Explorer, Freedom, Independence, Jewel, Legend, Liberty, Majesty, Mariner, Monarch, Navigator, Oasis, Radiance, Rhapsody, Serenade, Sovereign, Vision, Voyager
#25
Lancaster PA
107 Posts
Joined Feb 2015
Enjoying your review! We will be on this itinerary on the Gem in January, so really happy to read through your review for a glimpse of what to expect! Thanks for sharing!!
#26
NH
172 Posts
Joined Jul 2010
Day Six: Monday 11/06/17 (Barbados)
We woke up at 8am and had a small breakfast. Our plan was to walk to the “Boatyard”. As we were getting directions from the port officers, they told us we could take a shuttle for $5 one way per person. This sounded like a great idea. This was an interesting ride from the pier through the capitol to the beach. We were dropped off and paid our $20 per person. We booked our snorkel tour,picked out our 2 chairs/umbrella and got our free drinks. We both got a beer and took a swim.
There were also 3 inflatable that were included in the package. While swimming we were paged for our snorkel time. This was worth the admission alone. We were taken out to 2 ship wrecks for over an hour. We saw the sunken ships and many fish. This was the best snorkel of our vacation. The last part of the package was a free ride back to the cruise port. We went back to our cabin to shower and change and then went upstairs and had a quick lunch. After lunch we went back to the port shops at 2pm to get souvenirs and use the free WiFi. We got back to the ship at 4pm. We went up to the Garden Café for ribs and pasta. We were going to wait for the ship to leave port but it kept getting delayed. We were supposed to depart at 5pm but didn’t leave until 7pm. At 7pm we went to the “Jean Pierre Parent Magic Show”. We thought the show was amusing but not up to the standards of the other shows. It had some decent comedy mixed in with card tricks. We watched a little NFL football and then listened to the “Sonata Band”. My wife really wanted to see the “Tina Turner Tribute” so we stayed to watch it. The show was excellent. I don’t really care for her music but could appreciate how well it was done. After the show we went back to the cabin. We finished watching the NFL football game and then went to bed at 1am.
(9 Waldo shout outs/ 57 total)
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#27
NH
172 Posts
Joined Jul 2010
Day Seven: Tuesday 11/07/17 (Martinique)
We woke at 7amand had a small breakfast. After breakfastwe walked around the ship taking pictures. We left the ship at 10am. Wewalked all around the city, took pictures, visited the church and library andwaded a little at a small beach near the pier. We walked for about 3 hours and went back to the ship by 2pm. We had a quick snack and I took a dip in thepool and hot tub while Nancy was relaxing on a lawn chair. At 4pm the Captain announced that there wereproblems with the propeller and it could only move at a slow speed, we wouldnot be able to make it home. Instead ofheading to St Thomas we were being re-routed to Grenada and the stay was beingextended to 6pm. Thursday and Fridaywere supposed to be sea days but that itinerary was being changed. Thursday would still be a sea day but theship was being re-routed back to Barbados. It would arrive at 1:30am Friday and they would begin to start flyingpeople from Barbados to NJ. We had asnack, got dressed and went to the 7pm show. Tonight was a Ventriloquist named Kevin Johnson. He was funny and entertaining but (like themagician) could have had a little better act. After the show we went to dinner at the “Magenta” for the firsttime. Nancy had the fish and I had SteakDiane, both good. When dinner wasfinished we went to a Bee Gees/ABBA tribute by the band Sonata and then watchedthe “Liars Club Game Show” in the Spinnaker. We went to the “Late Night Dance Party” on the pool deck and then backto our cabin at midnight.

(4Waldo shout outs/ 61 total)
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#28
NH
172 Posts
Joined Jul 2010
Day Eight: Wednesday 11/08/17 (Grenada)
We woke and had another quick breakfast. We left the ship at 10am, our intention was to walk around the port city. We were greeted by a local who was going to take us to some places to look at spices. I started to realize that we were being scammed and he was trying to charge us for a “walking tour”. I should have charged him for my lost time! There wasn’t much to look at in the downtown area. We went back to the ship for lunch. Around 1:30pm we got on our bathing suits and took the water taxi ($5 each way per person) to the beach. We swam and had a beer. This must have been the place to go. We kept bumping into people from the cruise. We went back to the ship at 4pm, showered and went out for a snack. We went to the 7pm show “Duo Dynasty”, a fantastic aerial duo. After the show we went for fish and chips (very good) and wings at O’Sheehan’s. After dinner we talked to Guest Services about our flights and then listened to Sonata (we love this band) in the Atrium. We turned in our travel form and went up to the “White Hot dance party”. We had a cup of tea and then were in our cabin by 11:30pm.
(10 Waldo shout outs/ 71 total)
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#29
NH
172 Posts
Joined Jul 2010
Day Nine: Thursday 11/09/17 (Sea Day)
Sadly, this would turn out to be our last cruise day. We finally went for a big breakfast. After breakfast we went to the Comedian “Tim Kaminski's Q and A” (really enjoyed this). We ate lunch and then went to the“Afternoon Trivia”. Next it was back to the Spinnaker to watch the “Battle of the Cake Makers”. We caught the end of “Scattergories” and played the “10 Minute Mystery” and then went to watch the end of the Art Auction. Next it was a round of “Washer Toss” and then we went for a snack in the “Great Outdoors”. While up there we bumped into the entertainers from the “Duo Dynasty” and talked to them for a while (what a nice couple). We walked a mile around the ship before going to the Atrium. The Atrium was hosting a “Crew Spotlight Jam Session” which we watched. For the remainder of the cruise the Atrium would be very busy with people trying to get answers about their flights home and the remainder of the cruise. We had been accumulating points all week from the activities that we had been involved in. It was now time to go to the “Bliss”and turn them in for prizes. We collected 3 pens and 2 can insulators. Our last activity was to attend the show “Get Down Tonight” which was a 70’s themed show (very good). We went back to our cabin and our “letter” was on our bed. It stated that we were “pink”, one of the lousy colors which meant we were on one of the earlier flights. We had to be in Le Bistro at 5am Friday, missing a whole day of the cruise. We had to have our luggage in the hallway by 10pm Thursday night. Finally got packed and organized and in bed by 1am.
(3 Waldo shout outs/ 74 total)
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#30
NH
172 Posts
Joined Jul 2010
Day Ten: Friday 11/10/17 (Departure/Barbados airport)
We were supposed to get up at 5am to fill out Immigration paperwork. At 3:50am there was an announcement that we needed to be there at 4am (first line/wait). We filled out our paperwork and had a very light breakfast. We were supposed to be off the ship and on a bus by 6:30am so we decided to spend our last hour relaxing in our cabin. At 6:30am we were on our way to the Barbados airport. We got to the airport around 7am and waited in line to get our boarding passes (second line/wait). We were waiting in line for 75 minutes dragging our luggage with us. As I got to the front of the line the computers crashed (third line/wait). We waited in another line for passports (fourth line/wait) and then around the corner (fifth line/wait) for a security check(shoes off). Plane loading was supposed to be at 9:10am (sixth line/wait), didn’t happen until 9:50am. Departure was supposed to be at 10am, over 30 minutes late. This is nothing compared to the disorganization in NJ. There were Customs and Immigration lines (seventh + eighth line/wait). We collected our bags and were told to sit in an area for an NCL Rep. She showed up very late and took us to an elevator (ninth line/wait) where we had to go up in small groups lugging all our heavy luggage (no porters to help). One elderly gentleman collapsed (I assume from exhaustion and/or dehydration) onto the floor, while waiting in the elevator line. We finally all got to the 2nd floor and had to drag luggage across the terminal. This was the most ridiculous line of all (tenth line/wait). There was supposed to be a group of NCL Reps sending passengers to the proper vehicles for transport. When we got to the area where we were supposed to pick up our transports there was only one Rep using a smartphone to direct us. Only about 75% of the information he was giving out was correct. When it was our turn he told us to take the shuttle to Manhattan. I told him my car was at the Hampton Inn in NJ. He told me to take a cab ($80) and NCL would reimburse me. It was now rush hour and we were exhausted(14 hour day) so we decided to stay at the Hampton Inn and get an early start to NH in the morning. The initial problem was not NCL’s problem, things break, but they did a lousy job of dealing with this problem. .
(7 Waldo shoutouts/ 81 final total)
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#31
NH
172 Posts
Joined Jul 2010
Day Eleven: Saturday 11/11/17 (Drive Home)

We had a good nights sleep and a nice breakfast at the Hampton Inn and then headed north to NH. We couldn’t believe the difference in temperature, 80 degrees down to freezing in 24 hours. The ride home was uneventful. We took the scenic Palisades Parkway and stopped a couple of times to look at the views.
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#32
NH
172 Posts
Joined Jul 2010
Summary:

Drive: The drive from Southern NH to Ridgefield NJ took us longer than it should have. We left late because of the storm up North and hit rush hour in NY/NJ. The ride home was much
better. We took the scenic Palisades Parkway and drove in the middle of the day. The drive to NY/NJ was an experiment for us and we would do it again. The Hampton Inn Park and shuttle was a great deal for us and we would do this again next time.
Cabin: We booked the guaranteed room which cost us $499 each with no perks. The catch was that the room wouldn't be assigned to us until we got close to the cruise departure date. We lucked out. We got cabin #10035 which worked out to be a great location for everything on the top decks of the ship. This was the first time that we had a cabin with only the two of us
in the room so the cabin "seemed" so much bigger. Our cabin steward (Neal) was the best we have ever had. He was very attentive and would greet us by name every day.
Weather: This seems like the best time of year to cruise in the Caribbean. The threats of bad storms seemed to be over. The cruise was smooth the whole time, no rough weather. We got
very little rain and mostly beautiful sunny weather, but not too hot. The only cool day was when we departed NY.
Food: We loved the food on the GEM. We ate at the complimentary restaurants and thought there was a lot of variety. We had all sorts of complimentary food including Seafood (Shrimp, Scallops, Salmon, ect.) and Meats (chicken, pork, turkey, ribs, wings, lots of beef, ect), salads, pastas, pizza and much more. We did a variety of sit down restaurants, Buffet, Barbecue on the deck and Chinese food. There was always comfort food at the "Great Outdoors" when we needed it.
Entertainment: We thought the shows were great. We loved anytime the house Band (Sonata) played and enjoyed all the shows that the Ship's Dancers and Singers did. We don't enjoy
the Improv done by the Improv group. We enjoyed the magician and ventriloquist but thought their acts were weak. We really enjoyed the Aerial Duo and the Comedian (Tim). The band Sonata was excellent and the other onboard musicians were decent. We got involved in much of the onboard activities and kept very busy. We actually thought we would have a lot of down time based on the length of the cruise and the fact there was just the two of us travelling.
Just the opposite happened, we couldn't find enough time to do everything we wanted to.
Ship: We loved the GEM. The layout of the ship was wonderful. The GEM had two decent sized pools and one was adults only plus an adults only hot tub. It also had a slide in the pool area. They showed movies and sports on a 2-story TV screen in the Atrium. They had a multi-sport area with a variety of sports. We hope to have a chance to take another cruise on the GEM.
Itinerary: Because of all the destructive storms our itinerary was changed from St. Thomas, St. Maarten, San Juan, Totola and St. Kitts to St Kitts, Grenada, St. Lucia, Barbados and
Martinique. We haven't been to any of the islands on the new itinerary so this was all new to us. We enjoyed all of the islands except St. Lucia. We didn't get the new itinerary until less than 2 weeks before departure so it was tough to set up excursions. The new islands were further south which cruises from NY usually don't go to. We liked the new itinerary. Crowds: I don't know if it was the time of year or the fear of further storms but the crowds were minimal. We never had a wait for anything. The pools and Hot tubs were not crowded. If you came in 2 minutes before show time you could get a good seat. No wait for sit down restaurants, Chinese restaurant or for the Buffet lines. Even the embarkation was seamless.
The only long lines we encountered were during the whole mess of trying to get home from Barbados.
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#33
230 Posts
Joined Sep 2014
Thanks very much for your review! I am glad you had a good time, soured only by the ending and getting home from Barbados. I hope they make some gesture for their very poor handling of this event. I appreciate it would be quite a logistical task to organise planes back to the US for several thousand people but there is no excuse for the NCL reps turning up late and being so poorly informed, which would only add to the upset of the original situation and delays.

That aside, Gem herself sounds great. I love the Jewel class ships although have never been on Gem.
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#37
1,424 Posts
Joined Feb 2004
Originally posted by amberjohn
I heard the GEM is coming to Boston. Does anyone know when?

Thanks
Amber,

I was on this cruise too. Had a really good time, and I see you did too. Gem is coming to Boston next year. It is doing a Caribbean run in March, before it begins doing the Bermuda runs. It will be doing a 14 nt. Caribbean later in 2019.
#38
DFW, Texas
360 Posts
Joined May 2003
Great review; thanks for sharing! Sorry about the ship troubles

I like the Jewel class ships; we are on the Gem for the first time in Sept .

Tammy
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Carnival Breeze - 11/2017 (Montego Bay, Grand Cayman, Cozumel from Galveston)
NCL Sun - 03/2017 (S. Amer - Valparaiso, Puerto Montt, Puerto Chacabuco, Punta Arenas, Ushuaia, Cape Horn, Falkland Islands, Puerto Madryn, Montevideo, Buenos Aires)
NCL Sun - 09/2015 (Alaska - ISP, Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan from Seward to Vancouver)
NCL Jewel - 03/2015 (Western Caribbean - Cozumel, Belize, Banana Coast from Houston)
NCL Dawn - 10/2013 (Bermuda - from Boston)
NCL Sun - 07/2012 (Baltic - Denmark, Germany, Estonia, St. Petersburg, Finland, Sweden from Copenhagen - 10th Anniversary)
NCL Spirit - 11/2010 (Exotic Western Caribbean - Costa Maya, Belize, Roatan, Cozumel from New Orleans)
NCL Pearl - 11/2009 (Eastern Caribbean - Dominican Republic, St. Thomas, Tortola, Great Stirrup Cay from Miami)
NCL Dream - 11/2006 (Western Caribbean - Progresso, Belize, Cozumel from Houston)
NCL Sun - 07/2003 (Alaska - Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan, Victoria from Seattle)
#39
2 Posts
Joined Oct 2017
Thank you so much for the great review and pictures. Looking at this ship for next spring! Quick question concerning the pools. Could you actually stand in the pool or was it too deep? Was on the Getaway this year and was very deep - so basically wasted space. Again - thank you for posting this!! Great video!!